Do Employees Have Useful Information About Firms’ ESG Practices?
Charles A. Dice Working Paper No. 2021-21
67 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2021 Last revised: 11 Nov 2022
Date Written: November 10, 2022
This paper investigates whether employees have useful information for assessing firms’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. I analyze 10.4 million anonymous employee reviews via a word-embedding model to construct an inside view of corporate ESG practices. The inside view has useful information beyond external ratings in predicting a firm’s future misconduct, governance issues, downside risk, growth, and valuation. In addition, the inside view appears robust to greenwashing, both theoretically and empirically. In various settings including a novel exogenous shock, I show that low-cost changes in a firm’s stated ESG policies do not affect the inside view while more expensive changes do.
Keywords: ESG, CSR, greenwash, cheap talk, employees, NLP, Glassdoor
JEL Classification: G30, G34, M14, M40, D22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation